One of my biggest love languages is giving gifts. I am not interested in finding deals or cutting costs when it comes to finding that perfect gift for someone. We have a lot of birthday traditions that we cherish in our family, some cost money and others are free with a little thought behind them. For us, giving gifts is important but does not impact our other financial goals. So that means we just have to plan in advance.
For the next 10 years we have multiple major milestones every year, including milestone birthdays, high school graduations and college graduations and anniversaries. Yes! Every year for the next 10 years, we will have milestone birthdays, high school graduations, college graduations and anniversaries. Oh yeah, all five of the kids will be attending college during this time as well.
Budgeting for birthday’s and Christmas are treated as an irregular expense. These are things that hit the budget only once or possibly more a year but aren’t every month. The basics are to take all of the costs for birthday’s in your immediate family, any close relatives you buy gifts for, friends of yours and your kids add all of this up and divide by twelve. This is the amount you save per month.
For birthday’s we go out to dinner to a place that the person celebrating the birthday choices. My favorite part of the birthday dinner, and how we make it more special, is that we go around the table and everyone says at least three things that they love about the birthday person. For a family of 7 it’s hard for us to eat out anywhere under $150.
If we host a party at a place like Pump It Up (indoor inflatable bounce houses) or AZ Airtime (indoor trampoline park), we spend about $300 for an experience and a small gift. If we host a party at our house then we still spend around $300 between food, drinks and maybe a larger gift and card. It was easier to budget less for gifts when they were younger but one individual item now adds up. Some of the kids have passed on a party if they want a nicer gift.
Each birthday ends up costing around $450 between the dinner, party and gift. This is a huge amount of money to try to handle in your budget if you haven’t planned for it. The dinner we take out of our monthly entertainment budget and adjust how many times we eat out in a birthday month to accommodate. Then, we need to budget $300 for 7 people for gifts and parties. That is $2,100 for the year or $175 that we put away every month for our birthday celebrations. We have two birthdays in May and two in October, so spreading out the expenses really helps us to stay on budget and focused on our financial goals without worrying where the money is going to come from.
This does not include relatives, friends or friends of the kids we buy gifts for so make sure you add those into your budget as well. For major milestones we do something different than the normal gift budget. For example, for their 13th birthday, each kid has gotten to pick a place and take a trip somewhere in the US, just them and us. I can’t share the other milestone celebration gifts, or it would ruin the surprise!
Here is a snapshot of our next 10 years and all these amazing celebrations!
2019 High School Graduation, 18th birthday, 16th birthday & 8th grade promotion
2020 16th birthday, 13th birthday, 8th grade promotion.
2021 High School Graduation, 18th birthday, 16th birthday.
2022 21st birthday, 18th birthday, 8th grade promotion.
2023 High School graduation, 18th birthday, 16th birthday, 50th birthday, college graduation.
2024 High school graduation, 21st birthday.
2025 21st birthday, 18th birthday, college graduation, 50th birthday.
2026 High School graduation, 21st birthday.
2027 College graduation
2028 College graduation, 21st birthday.
2030 College graduation
What an amazing decade of celebrations this will be, and it will also be a very expensive decade. As long as we make a plan and stick to it, we will be set!